Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Busy Day

I had a busy day today in the garden. It is still extremely windy out, but the sun is shining again, so it is a good day for chores. The number one chore on the list was turning the compost pile and finding that black gold at the bottom. Many gardeners screen their compost, but I just pick through it. I recompost the sticks, avocado and peach pits, corn cobs and other assorted bits that didn’t break down in the first year. The avocado pits are always amusing. I always squeeze them, about a third of the time they collapse into a nice brown powder. I’m guessing that means it takes three years for them to break down. I took my prize down to the squash bed and dug it into the soil; then sculpted the soil into two hills. One hill I will plant right away, one I’ll plant around the end of June or the beginning of July. I’ll keep it covered with a row cover to keep out the vine borers. The vine borers make it really hard to grow squash here, but a row cover will keep them out. Personally I really hate the look of row covers, but it keeps the plants growing without any pesticides, so I use them.

The soil is getting quite warm. Our last frost was almost a month ago. I think it is going to stay warm during the day from now on. So it was obviously time to plant my beans. I have four poles. I planted Kentucky Wonder and Fortex around the front poles, and the Yard Long Beans around the back poles. I had to rip up a couple of peas at the end of the row since they were too close to the beans. I didn’t want the beans to become shaded by them. They had germinated less than a week ago, but look how big their roots were already.

This spring I’ve been fighting with the slugs eating my Asian greens. Last week I tried crushed eggshells. Obviously I need more eggshells. My real problem is that I mulch the paths with hay and the slugs love hiding in it during the day. At night they come out to eat. So on the side with the mulch (the other side has brick pavers) I dug my row cover edge under the dirt. I’m hoping that keeps them from invading. Time will tell. I can’t give up anymore of my eggshells. I’m saving them for planting my tomatoes next week.

On the cutworm front, I finally found the cutworm that was eating my cilantro. It chopped down another plant, but stayed around the base so I could find it. Only a gardener can be so happy over squishing a worm.

The happiest part of the day however was picking some more lettuce and my first radishes. My early Red Sails lettuce still is not full size, but it is almost there. As you can see I now only have three left, and they have lots of room to grow now. As I pick each head I throw more seed into the empty spot. Hopefully I will have lettuce here all summer long at different stages of growth. I also thinned out the later lettuce (direct seeded the same time the early seedlings were planted). They were getting crowded and more lettuce to eat is never bad.

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